CME, ICE prepare pricing data that could boost bitcoin

CHICAGO CME Group Inc (CME.O) and rival Intercontinental Exchange Inc (ICE.N) plan to publish new pricing data on bitcoin that they say will increase the credibility and transparency for the controversial digital currency.

Starting in the fourth quarter, the CME aims to begin publishing bitcoin prices about once a second during trading days and a daily settlement price based on transactions from several bitcoin spot exchanges, the company said on Monday.

The owner of the Chicago Mercantile Exchange and other futures markets said the data will add “significant credibility to the nascent digital asset market.”

ICE, which owns the New York Stock Exchange, will soon launch a real-time pricing index for bitcoin, after it began publishing settlement prices in May 2015, said Dwijen Gandhi, head of indexes for the NYSE, in a statement.

The real-time data will “provide additional transparency and insight into the bitcoin price,” he said.

The NYSE also is evaluating the inclusion of data from a number of exchanges for its settlement price, which was initially based only on transaction data from U.S. market Coinbase, Gandhi said.

Bitcoin is a Web-based “cryptocurrency” used to move money around quickly and anonymously with no need for a central authority. But despite being championed by some as the digital money of the future, it is often dismissed as a currency that is too volatile to invest in.

The availability of pricing data from major exchange operators could attract more traders to the bitcoin market and promote the development of derivatives contracts, said Gil Luria, a managing director for Wedbush Securities.

“The more active exchanges like CME or ICE become, the easier, the more liquid it will become for traditional investors” to trade bitcoin, Luria said.

The CME declined to say whether it wants to launch bitcoin futures. ICE did not respond to a question on the matter.

CME is planning to publish its settlement price at 4 p.m. London time (1500 GMT), the same time that the NYSE publishes its settlement price.

The beginnings of bitcoin have been a riddle since the publication of the open-source software behind the currency in 2008, before its launch a year later.

Earlier on Monday, Australian tech entrepreneur Craig Wright identified himself as the creator of bitcoin but experts were divided over whether he really was the elusive person who has gone by the name of Satoshi Nakamoto until now.

(Editing by Lisa Von Ahn and Matthew Lewis)

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